GCC Trade Deal: A Boost for British Business
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
A fourteen-week consultation to seek views on a trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council is underway.
The UK is already a top destination for investment from GCC members. A trade agreement is expected to attract even more investment into world-leading UK industries such as renewable energy, infrastructure, tech and life sciences.
What is the GCC?
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC is already an important trading partner, with almost £22 billion of UK exports and bilateral trade worth over £30 billion in 2020.
The nations forming the Gulf Cooperation Council are, together, one of our biggest trading and investment partners and are home to over 50 million people.
Why is an agreement so important?
A trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is a huge opportunity to liberalise trade with a growing market for British business and deepen ties with a region that is vital to our strategic interests.
An advanced trade deal would take our relationship to the next level in industries of the future, such as digital trade, services and green growth - delivering higher-paying jobs across the country.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
“We want a modern, comprehensive agreement that breaks down trade barriers to a huge food and drink market and in areas like digital trade and renewable energy which will deliver well-paid jobs in all parts of the United Kingdom.”
Which businesses will benefit?
British business could seize new opportunities in areas like renewable energy and play a key role in helping a region that wants to move away from a reliance on oil.
Financial and digital services companies, along with education and healthcare providers, could also strengthen their position in a region that holds UK expertise in high regard.
Over £597 million of British food and drink exports headed to GCC countries last year, including lamb, biscuits and chocolate. Farmers and food producers could now benefit hugely from better market access to a region that imports virtually all its food and has high demand for top-quality British produce.
International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said:
“From exports of Welsh lamb and Scotch beef to biscuits from Belfast and financial services from the City of London, we are determined to strike a deal that will further cement our relationships, attract investment, promote trade opportunities and provide significant benefits for British business, creating jobs in communities across the country.”
What’s the agenda?
In October, the International Trade Secretary started preparations for a trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), launching a 14-week consultation calling for the public and businesses to share their views ahead of negotiations starting in 2022.
Concluding in January 2022, it includes a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with the countries in the GCC to ensure any deal reflects the country’s best interests.